Kosovo: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Kosovo.

  • Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008, is an independent state in southeastern Europe.
  • It covers about 11,000 square km and has a population of about 1.9 million.
  • The country’s name when translated means ‘country of blackbirds’.
  • It was ruled by the Ottoman Empire until 1913 when it became part of Serbia and Montenegro.
  • Kosovo has one of the world’s poorest economies, partly because of conflicts during the 1990s, international sanctions and poor economic planning. About 50 percent of people live below poverty level.
  • About 40 percent of the country is forested, and most of it is mountainous, with its highest point at 2,656 metres. The Nerodimka River is the only one in Europe flowing into two different seas.
  • The capital and largest city is Pristina, with almost 200,000 people.
  • A well-known monument in Pristina is the Great Hammam, a 15th century Turkish bath and one of the first buildings built under Ottoman rule.
  • The city’s newborn monument was created on February 17th, 2008, the day that Kosovo declared independence. It is decorated with the flags of the 99 countries that recognized independence.
  • Prizren has been called Kosovo’s most beautiful city, and is known for its many museums. According to legend, you will return to the city if you drink from the ancient water fountain.

Flag of Kosovo

  • Kosovo’s flag was used immediately after it declared independence, and was the winning entry in a United Nations sponsored competition. Its six stars represent Kosovo’s ethnic groups.
  • The old bazaar, or marketplace in Gjakova dates from the 16th century and covers about 35,000 square metres. It was once home to leather makers, bookbinders, gun makers and tailors.
  • Ibrahim Rugova was Kosovo’s first president, from 1992 to 2000 and from 2002 to 2006. He has been called the Father of the Nation and a hero of Kosovo.

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